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What should you be looking for as the Cardinals look to go 5-0 by defeating the St. Louis Rams on Thursday night?
5-0 seems like a dream, but it is closer than it has ever been before for the Arizona Cardinals. The Cards will look to maintain their undefeated record on Thursday night as the travel to Missouri to take on the St. Louis Rams. Despite what many may believe, this will be no walk in the park for Arizona. The Rams are coming off a big home victory over the Seattle Seahawks and are carrying a bit of momentum themselves. The Cardinals simply need to focus on this game and not look forward to their upcoming bye week until it is all said and done.
One of the big things that I will be watching for pertains to the running game for both teams. The Cardinals keyed on stopping Reggie Bush of the Dolphins last week, allowing rookie Ryan Tannehill to throw for over 400 yards. Will they do the same thing with Steven Jackson and Sam Bradford? Stopping the always dominant S-Jax is important, but with this being Bradford's third year in the league, Arizona will need to pay special attention to him as well.
The Cardinals need to get a ground game of their own going. Ryan Williams has received limited touches this season and when he has, his effectiveness has been limited. The offensive line for the Cardinals is seemingly defeated at the point of attack every time, which doesn't allow Williams to get any gains bigger than 2-3 yards. Creating holes for him will be important.
Another thing I will be watching for is how the tackles perform in pass protection for Arizona. Last weekend, rookie right tackle Bobby Massie struggled mightily against pass rusher Cameron Wake. In fact, he allowed 4.5 sacks on the day. It was brutal. Will Ken Whisenhunt and Russ Grimm get him some more help on the right side? After all, he will be playing against some more dominant pass rushers in Chris Long and Robert Quinn. Protecting Kevin Kolb is of the utmost importance.
Speaking of Kevin Kolb, how will he respond to a short week and another road game? Although he made some miraculous plays against Miami, he also threw for two interceptions and almost cost Arizona the game. Can he get the ball to his receivers and tight ends without having to force bad passes to them?
Lastly, look for the matchup between Larry Fitzgerald and Cortland Finnegan. Finnegan loves to get under the skin of opposing receivers, but Fitz has always been a rather relaxed player on and off the field. Let's see how Finnegan defends him tonight and what the outcome is.
What will you be watching for? Tell us in the comments section below.